CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: American Spirit Saturday report

Vasser, Hunter-Reay beat the pack of Reynards in final qualifying. Jimmy Vasser will make his tenth start at Road America from the seventh position tomorrow. Vasser turned his first qualifying lap with 23-minutes remaining of the 45-minute ...

Vasser, Hunter-Reay beat the pack of Reynards in final qualifying.

Jimmy Vasser will make his tenth start at Road America from the seventh position tomorrow. Vasser turned his first qualifying lap with 23-minutes remaining of the 45-minute session. He broke the one minute 44 second barrier on just his third lap (1:44.656). Vasser only managed four laps on his first set of sticker tires due to the red flag caused by Darren Manning. The green flag fell for the final stint, Vasser's crew held him just long enough for an open track. He ran five additional laps, with his final lap being the fastest (1:44.545) and good enough for the seventh position on the starting grid. This result is Vasser's best qualifying result of 2003, but he started sixth in Milwaukee when the grid was set by practice times due to qualifying being rained out.

American rookie, Ryan Hunter-Reay topped the charts for the first 30 minutes of the 45-minute qualifying session today at Road America. Hunter-Reay took to the four-mile circuit at the fall of the green flag and completed four laps in his first stint. He returned to the track and completed three laps, evaluating a change in the rear wicker. Hunter-Reay returned to the pits in eighth position, he took four sticker tires and made his final charge. Hunter-Reay matched his best starting position of the season when he set his best time on his 14th lap.

JIMMY VASSER, #12 American Spirit/Ford-Reynard/Cosworth

"The car is better than it has been anywhere else. Finally, I think we have a realistic chance to race for the podium, I am optimistic for the race tomorrow."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #31 American Spirit/Ford-Reynard/Cosworth

"We learned a lot today, we made a lot of improvements and we're steadily chipping away at it. We set ourselves back in practice this morning because we were saving tires for the race, which could be very important. During Qualifying we continually improved the car. ON my final lap I had a beautiful lap going, it was three-tenths faster and I came upon Salles who had spun just in front of me, he kept it going, but it slowed me down. We are starting from a solid position which has been my goal and I am looking forward to it."

Stefan Johansson, Team Owner: "The whole team did an excellent job executing a great run in today's qualifying. The engineers had a good strategy and I believe the drivers got the most out of their cars today. We are the best of our class today and I believe we are starting in good position to fight for it tomorrow." k

-astj-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Stefan Johansson , Jimmy Vasser , Ryan Hunter-Reay